Last time we bought a car, our youngest came with us in a bucket car seat. At the time, we had a 4-month-old, 4-year-old twins and a 6-year-old, and we were in the market for something big. Something we could haul around our four kids and all their friends.
We ended up buying a 12-passenger Chevy van and it has served us well. We’ve taken vanloads of kids on field trips, we’ve packed in sports teams to take to practice and games and we’ve hauled tons of stuff on vacation every summer.
But now, 10 years later, we are car shopping for something very different. Our oldest just got her permit. She turns 16 in January and will be driving by the summer (If we survive that long). So now we are looking for something smaller, something easier to parallel park. And with all the sports tournaments, swim meets and practices, we need something that gets better gas mileage when we aren’t hauling around a whole team.
The sad part of this whole thing is that we can pretty much do without another car that fits our whole family. Most of the time these days, we aren’t all together and that’s only going to be more the case as time goes by. Very soon, we won’t even need our aging minivan (that we got before the twins were born) or the 12-passenger bus. Kids will be off to college, driving cars of their own. Somehow, when I wasn’t looking, we went from a family needing room for multiple car seats to a family that needs a car teens might be able to pass the drivers’ test in. This will be the car that my husband and I keep driving long after the kids are gone.
As we looked at new cars, we realized it would be silly to trade in what we have. There is no point in letting go of the old minivan, because just 20 months after Maggie gets her license, Lilly and Adam can get theirs. Suddenly, we will have five drivers in the family.
So last weekend, there we were, test-driving smallish cars. This time our youngest was with us again. He came along to test out the back seats. He’s the only one left who can’t ride shotgun. Any minute, though, he’ll be in the driver’s seat too.
FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 15, Lilly, 14, Adam, 14, and Jonah, 10.